The Génépi Family
Génépis are small aromatic plants. They belong to the Artemisia genus (wormwoods) classified in the family Asteraceae (formerly known as Compositae). They only grow in mountainous areas of Europe at about 2,000 - 3,000 metres altitude.
Artemisia umbelliformis (= Artemisia mutellina)
Some call it "yellow génépi" and it is known as "white génépi" in Switzerland. A bit confusing! This particular species of génépi has always been the most commonly used – it has very good aromatic properties as is not too rare. Picking is regulated (for example, you are allowed to pick up to 100 sprigs in the Hautes-Alpes department in France).
Gray génépi is by far the most cultivated species, and it is the only one we sell.
Sometimes called "false génépi", this species is far less perfumed than gray génépi. Because it is easier to find at lower altitudes, it was cheaper for distillers to use yellow génépi for their liqueur. Though you can sometimes find vast quantities of this species, picking is also regulated.
Artemisia spicata (= Artemisia genepi)
Also called "male génépi" or "black génépi". It favors cooler north-facing slopes. This species is significantly more rare than the others. It boasts powerful aromas but does not lend itself well to cultivation. Just like every other génépi species, picking is regulated (again, 100 sprigs in the Hautes-Alpes department).
This species is covered in white, silky fuzz. Its stems are often quite long, which make it the larger kind of génépi in our region. It only grows on siliceous soils and is therefore very rare in the Hautes-Alpes department. That is why picking is strictly forbidden.